You’ve likely heard of the term “epigenetics” before. Epigenetics is the study of how our genes interact with and are affected by, our environment. Each person’s’ genetic sequence and their interplay with their environment is unique and specific, and understanding one’s genetic makeup is crucial to being able to understand how to reach optimal health. This is why genetic testing is so important when establishing a metabolic plan for our patients.
We are all individual in how our genes express themselves and while everyone’s genome is made from the same 4 alleles, how they group together dictates whether the gene will function the way it was anticipated to or not. The type of compromise a gene can manifest is unique to the gene – some will work faster and metabolize at a faster rate, others will work slower or stop altogether causing the body to become dependent on using a different metabolic route. Each gene, or enzyme, can facilitate or inhibit other genes that it interacts with and requires specific co-factors to allow it to move between steps in each metabolic process. A particular person’s rate of burn through different co-factors will be greater or lesser than another pathway depending on how the gene’s alleles are stacked and if they are reacting to different things within their environment. Once certain genes are developed and functioning the body inserts them where they are needed; however, many genes are redundant throughout the body and depending on the role they are playing other genes can negate them. I.E. there is 1 gene that affects 3 different neurotransmitters, and that same gene is the cousin to how histamines in the diet affect our connective tissue.
As you can now see, genes can play a variety of roles within the body and one gene can be used throughout a variety of different metabolic processes causing them to have quite an impact on one’s total health. You can’t change your genes, but knowing your unique environmental inflammatory triggers can allow you can change how your genes function.
The majority of our patients will be required to get their genetic panel done. We find that we get the most information from either www.23andme.com or www.ancestry.com.
From there, we utilize one of two secondary sites to produce a person’s specific genetic map. A comparison of the two sites is below: